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The Nakoda Nation - Historical Overview

Stoney mother with child

The Stoney Nakoda Nation is the descendant of the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda Peoples who used and occupied a vast area of the North American Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.  Their traditional lands include large parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana. The Nakoda are a Siouxan speaking people, speaking variations of the “N” dialect of Siouxan.  There is a considerable dialectic variation between various Nakoda groups.

The resources on which the Stoney Nakodas depended on for daily living were not always available at any season or any location. Resources such as berries, edible greens and roots ripen earlier at some spots and not others and did not necessarily grow nearby a camp. Deer hunting often occurred in narrow valleys covered in mixed Aspen and Spruce trees. The best winter camping happened in thick trees where Chinook winds were frequent.  It is evident that the Stoneys moved with the rhythm of the season, so as not to deplete the resources on which they depended on.

Stoney Natives

Stony leaders at the time, Jacob Bearspaw and Bill McLean, sat down with the representatives of the British Crown to discuss the terms of Treaty 7 at Blackfoot Crossing on the Bow River in 1877. In exchange for their peace and friendship, the Crown formally recognized the Stoney Nakodas as independent Nations and agreed to secure their traditional self-government, economy, and way of life.  To keep within the Stoney culture, they agreed to share with the newcomers those parts of their traditional lands covered by Treaty 7.

Under Treaty 7, the Crown guaranteed the Stoneys’ Aboriginal rights, secured their new Treaty rights, and promised them Reserve Land. The original Reserve was situated in the region of Morleyville, which is located along the Bow River between the Kananaskis and Ghost Rivers. Morleyville had traditionally been a wintering place for some of the Stoneys and was a permanent camp site for only one of the three bands, the Chiniki.

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